Backpacking with Grace

Backpacking through the Anglican Communion: A Search for Unity (2014)

Backbacking web no borderThe Anglican Communion is said to be coming apart at the seams. But is that really true? Backpacking through the Anglican Communion is the exciting book that challenges the tired narrative of Anglican disunity.

Jesse Zink has traveled tens of thousands of miles around the world, visiting and worshiping with Anglicans in some of the Communion’s most diverse provinces—Nigeria, the largest province ministering in an unstable political environment; South Sudan, at one point the fastest-growing church in the world, now rebuilding after devastating civil wars; England, the mother church of Anglicans, struggling to adjust to a new, secular age; South Africa, a church dealing with the legacy of entrenched discrimination and rapid social change. The story Zink learns at the grassroots level of the church is far different from the one that dominates its highest levels. He shows that when conversations about power, history, and sexuality are undertaken in a spirit of mutuality and trust, they can strengthen, not weaken, the Anglican Communion.

The result is a book that presents vivid slices of Anglican life around the world, argues convincingly that unity is central to the Communion’s mission, and presents a credible path to achieving that unity in a global church. It is a book that is already shaping debates about the future of the Anglican Communion.

Reviews of Backpacking are collected on this web page.

Backpacking through the Anglican Communion: A Search for Unity was published in January 2014 by Morehouse Publishing (ISBN: 978-0819229014). It is currently available from your local bookstore, on IndieBoundon Amazon (,, or (at the cheapest price of all) on Cokesbury.

Grace at the Garbage Dump: Making Sense of Mission in the Twenty-First Century (2012)

Like so many others of his millennial generation, Jesse Zink was eager to give back, serve others, and “save the world.” As a young adult missionary of the Episcopal Church, he found all that and more when he went to work in a shantytown community built on a garbage dump in South Africa.

Grace at the Garbage Dump takes readers with Jesse through his years in South Africa: struggling with AIDS patients to get life-saving drugs, coaching women through a microcredit program, and teaching preschool students to sing (and dance) to “Johnny B. Goode.” It’s a story that leads us to a deeper understanding of our world and is at once hopeful and uplifting while also being credible and serious.

The headlines are dominated by disaster and despair but young people remain passionate about service to the least among us. Grace at the Garbage Dump is an invigorating call to respond to the diculties of our time with an active and engaged faith. Whether you end up at the local soup kitchen or halfway around the world, you’ll be challenged to seek God’s grace in even the most adverse circumstances.

Brian McLaren calls the book “One part travelogue, one part coming-of-age story, one part spiritual autobiography, and one part reflections on poverty and what it means to help and be helped by those in need, Grace at the Garbage Dump introduces us all to Jesse Zink—talented as a writer, honest as a Christian thinker, and smart as an activist—exactly the kind of voice we need.” Other reviews of Grace are collected on this web page.

A free study guide, suitable for congregations and other reading groups, is also available.

Tell your friends and order at your local bookstore, for your Kindle, or directly from the publisher.

Grace at the Garbage Dump, Cascade Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-61097-613-8